DIY Decking Guide for Those on a Tight Budget

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DIY Decking Guide for Those on a Tight Budget

While a tight budget prevents the completion of a top-of-the-line deck, it still allows for a quality-built DIY project. To stay within budget, plan out the project, and stick firmly to the allotted materials and specifications. Discover suitable tips for setting up an inexpensive self-built decking venture below.


Lay Out the Plan

Before building the deck, it is vitally important to plan ahead. Create a detailed blueprint map that shows dimensions, shape and overall structure of the decking. Blueprints assist with maintaining shape during construction, but they also prevent over-budgeting.

Does design matter? If the deck is solely functional, there is no need to consider the cost of corner enhancements or aesthetic railing. If small children or elderly family members are present, though, support railings are often necessary.


Duration of Use

Whether a deck is intended as a permanent or temporary structure ultimately determines the most suitable materials and physical location. If a deck is designed for year-round enjoyment, it must be able to withstand all seasonal variations. Will it be located in the dry climate of Western Australia, or a rainy corridor in Queensland? Will it be subject to the snowy winter mountains of Victoria or New South Wales?


Foot Traffic

Everyday wear and tear does affect the durability of the materials. If the deck is intended for occasional access, it will not break down as rapidly as one that receives regular traffic. Heavy-duty action, often through thumping and running, causes downward pressure and damaging friction. Over time, it begins to destroy the material fibres and particles. Tight budgets require the most durable and long-lasting materials.


Material Selection

Refer back to the blueprint to determine how much raw material is required. The first choice to make is whether the decking should be natural, man-made, or treated.

Natural timber is widely available throughout the country. Although some trees are expensive, other species work well for low-cost options. Birch (yellow and white), pine (cypress and hoop), western red cedar, ironbark, and eucalyptus such as spotted gum and blackbutt are suitable for frugal deck builders.

Composite timber is a mixture of wood fibres and recycled plastic. PVC timber, on the other hand, contains no wood fibres at all. Both composite and PVC timber are inexpensive and easy to re-size. They are also longer lasting than natural timber.

Preservative-treated timber uses particular chemicals to prevent decay from rot, mould and wood-boring insects. These chemicals are applied according to different treatment levels, which range from H1 to H6, which is the highest level of protection.


Where to Locate Materials

Inexpensive materials do not have to be of poor quality. An ideal place to start looking for materials is at a commercial recycling centre or a neighbourhood timber yard. Local timber yards might sell off their leftovers for reduced rates. Neighbours and other community members with rural properties often have excess or recycled materials, and they may be willing to sell or give those materials away. Online stores such as eBay also offer building materials for sale.


Additional Requirements

Aside from natural or composite timber, make sure there is an ample amount of secondary materials. Railings, screws, nails, handheld tools, and concrete or concrete blocks must be available and in ready supply. If concrete blocks are unavailable, anchored spikes or footings are good alternatives that won’t hurt the budget. Bulk buys often result in substantial savings, so take that into consideration both before and during the actual work.



With no overhead labour costs to consider, all available funds can be channelled into materials and parts. Decking on a tight budget is achievable, and the end result is a beautiful space for furniture, decorations and year-round enjoyment.

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